Facts About Japanese Chopsticks & Chopsticks Etiquette

Food Chronicles, Travel Tips

Japan’s Eating Utensil

Chopsticks are the way of eating in Japan unless you have a traditional plate of curry rice with which that is eaten with a spoon. There is a range of qualities when it comes to chopsticks, even the disposable wooden pairs. And, of course, there are proper manners and etiquette when it comes to eating as a Japanese local.

Japanese Chopsticks
Practice makes perfect. It took me years eating as a child in Japanese restaurants to learn how to properly use chopsticks. And now the more I travel to Japan, the more I have observed the proper etiquette of eating. As much as articles say to use your hands to eat sushi, locals in Japan actually eat sushi with chopsticks and not their hands

 

Range of Japanese Disposable Wooden Chopsticks

A chopstick is just not a chopstick, especially in Japan. Disposable wooden chopsticks, known as waribashi, is used for high-end restaurants and for street eats. However, like the food itself, the chopsticks also range in quality.

If you see the natural lines in the chopstick, that is a high-quality pair with true wood that has been cleanly cut. If you do not see any lines, those chopsticks are like processed food and of lower quality.

Japanese Chopsticks Quality and Etiquette
High-quality chopsticks in which you can see the wooden lines, as it was cut straight from the wood. Lower quality chopsticks are processed to extend the wood making it cheaper and easier to mass produce

 

Japanese Chopsticks Etiquette

Chopsticks etiquette is like utensil etiquette – each country has their respective set of manners and traditions when it comes to proper eating. In Japan, manners are more formal than in other chopsticks-eating countries.

Do’s:

  • – Eat deliberately in a slow-mannered pace.
    – Use serving chopsticks when eating family-style
    – Place your chopsticks the chopsticks rest

Don’ts:

  • – Don’t shove food into your mouth
    – Don’t use the chopsticks individually like a stick
    – Don’t rub or scrape the chopsticks together. It doesn’t remove splinters, but, in fact, produces more splinters

 


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